Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Watch: Did Southeast Texas escape the worst? (and What's Next?)

Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's SciGuy must be running on three hours sleep. His first post this morning was timestamped 2:30 a.m., the next was 7:25 a.m.
Here are a couple of his later posts:
8:18 a.m.

For a lot of residents it sure won't feel like it today, or in the coming weeks or months. But here's a preliminary assessment from University of Texas engineer Gordon Wells. I consider the information to be credible.

Galveston Island: Storm surge peaked at 12.4 feet at 02:12 CDT. That measurement places 6-7 feet of water in the bayside area of the city, including UTMB and The Strand.

Galveston Bay communities: All sensors failed during the rising stage of the surge, so no direct measurements are available....

...Comment: Damage from inundation caused by storm surge will be widespread across the region, but should not reach the catastrophic level that would have occurred, if several model predictions materialized. Heavy rains continue across the Houston metropolitan region, and bayou flooding may replace the storm surge threat, but if Ike exits the region on schedule, Southeast Texas will have escaped the worst.

All of this doesn't speak to the potential devastation in Galveston, especially for areas beyond the seawall on the island's west end. That's a story that will continue to unfold for days and weeks.

11:08 a.m.
Is there anything else in the tropics remotely threatening?

Not to Texas. After nearly three weeks of following Gustav and Ike, oh what a sweet thing that is to write.

At present there are two systems in the Atlantic basin that the National Hurricane Center says have a low probability of developing into tropical storms....MORE